Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-08-15
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

GUEST COLUMN Casting matters
by Bear Bellinger
2018-04-04

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I want you to think back for me …

Think back to first time you felt yourself reflected in pop culture …

Remember that joy ...

Remember that feeling of being seen …

Remember the freedom it embodied …

Hold on to that feeling for me.

I am asked, constantly, "why do you care so much about casting? Is your demand for a diverse stage just born out of a selfish desire for more roles? Aren't we all just acting?"

My answer: Yes. Yes, it is, partially, selfish. We are all just acting. There is an inherent inauthenticity to our profession. We are a funhouse mirror rather than a high-definition picture. A stage that does not reflect the diversity of our city, is, in some ways, a truer reflection of the strife of our times.

When I demand more roles for people who look like me, or behave like me, I am asking to place a superficial bandage on the inequalities present in our daily lives. I wonder: What does equity on stage truly mean in the face of a reemerging White nationalist movement other than a selfish desire to do what I love?

But then I see a picture of a beautiful little Black girl standing in front of a portrait of Michelle Obama. I see her self-worth reflected and illuminated through this piece of art. I see a new generation seeking representation to remind them that marginalized people are valued.

There's that feeling.

Representation matters, as our very existence is seen as an assault on the sovereignty of some in our society. As laws pass that say that we can't marry, or that your body is not your own, or that they need to go back to "their" country, the very act of standing up and being seen is a revelation.

When we are given the power to represent ourselves and present our stories in our way, we remind the world that we deserve to be here. We remind our country that a plurality of voices and a multiplicity of perspectives is the bedrock of democracy. We remind the next generation that—in spite of what the hate permeating our government may tell them—they are seen and they are loved.

Theater, art, acting, performance—these are spaces of radical empathy. We embody other people; we tell their stories in order to better understand them. We make ourselves, and in turn our audiences, step into shoes that are not their own in order to promote a world where we are all valued. If those shoes are all the same and the players never change, we find ourselves shunning empathy, progress and understanding under the guise of entertainment.

The most entertaining stories, the ones we carry with us the longest, are the ones that challenge us. They are the stories that fundamentally shift our perspectives.

If we can push our stages to reflect a more equitable society, if we can present a Browner, Queerer, more Femme, less homogeneously able-bodied world, maybe we can promote a future where we are all accepted, where we are all seen, where we are all valued. A world where we say to that little girl, "You are smart. You are beautiful. You are everything."

And her only response? "I know."

Bear Bellinger has been an actor in Chicago since 2008, and has written about race and art for Vox and Medium.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Author Andrew Solomon part of 'Far From the Tree' documentary 2018-08-15 - Author Andrew Solomon's best-selling book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity has now inspired a movie. The book ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Richard III 2018-08-15 - By: William Shakespeare. At: Ingraham Park, Evanston. Tickets: MuseOfFire.weebly.com; free. Runs through: Sept. 9 Richard III transforms before the audience's eyes ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-08-15 - Buddy, American Blues Theater @ Stage 773, remounted through Sept. 15. Far more concert than story, the short, mostly-sweet life of Buddy Holly ...


Gay News

REVIEW Holding the Man 2018-08-15 - Playwright: Tommy Murphy; adapted from a memoir by Timothy Conigrave At: The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222; ...


Gay News

THEATER Spotlight on Hurricane Damage 2018-08-15 - Four gay men cross generations and decades in Hurricane Damage—Kevin Brofsky's funny, sad, hopeful and emotionally layered exploration of dreams snuffed out by ...


Gay News

Ruby Rose to play lesbian superhero Batwoman 2018-08-15 - Orange Is the New Black alum/LGBT actress Ruby Rose has been cast to play lesbian superhero Batwoman ( a.k.a. Kate Kane ), Entertainment ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Pro-trans letter, Troye Sivan, Global Citizen, 'Flipping Out' 2018-08-14 - Nearly 50 LGBTQ organizations, production companies, film studios and talent agencies called on Hollywood Aug. 7 to represent more transgender people on the ...


Gay News

REVIEW The African Company Presents Richard III 2018-08-14 - By Carlyle Brown. At: Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Tickets: 708-300-3896 or https://oakparkfestival.com; $20-$32, free children under ...


Gay News

Martha Wash, singer of 'It's Raining Men,' to star in WaistWatchers The Musical 2018-08-13 - The production that has had audience members "burning off pounds just laughing," according to the Los Angeles Times, WaistWatchers The Musical! makes its ...


Gay News

Goodman New Stages Fest includes Sarah Schulman, Ricardo Gamboa and Paula Vogel 2018-08-13 - This fall, Goodman Theatre presents its New Stages Festival—a free annual celebration and discovery of new plays by some of the country's finest ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.